Upon first glance, the “Kurt Schwitters: Merz” exhibition is an enticing haven of artistic talent. The retrospective opened earlier this week at the Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich, as a celebration of the five-decade-long relationship between Schwitters and the gallery.
An exhibition involving Zaha Hadid is sure to be a visual treat, whether it's her work that is on display or if she designed an exhibition's setup. Hadid's design for this particular exhibition — which features the familiar curved forms and sharp animated lines seen in her buildings — is the late architect's homage to Kurt Schwitters' famous Merzbau. Schwitters was an iconic artist whose work heavily influenced a multitude of creative forces like David Bowie, Damien Hirst, and Zaha Hadid herself — and quite evidently so.
“Having realized a similar project seven years ago, where Hadid transformed Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich into a Suprematist space in reference to Kasimir Malevich, this collaborative project pays tribute to [Hadid's] second important artistic influence on [her] work – Kurt Schwitters,” the Galerie Gmurzynska describes.
Curated by Cabaret Voltaire director Adrian Notz, the exhibition will feature archival documents featuring 70 of Schwitters' significant works in poetry, theatre, stage design, and sound.
The retrospective will also focus greatly on Kurt Schwitters' lasting impact on later generations of artists. As curator Norman Rosenthal once said, “there is no artist working today that has not been influenced by Kurt Schwitters”.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive in-depth publication that features more than 250 pages of previously unpublished archival material and newly commissioned writings by: former Museum Ludwig director Siegfried Gohr; Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects; Peter Bissegger, who recreated the Merzbau for Szeemann’s Gesamtkunstwerk show; Cabaret Voltaire director Adrian Notz; art historian Jonathan Fineberg from the University of California, Irvine; and Norman Rosenthal.
Kurt Schwitters: Merz is open now until September 30.
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